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The Poole Iron Age logboat project

The Poole Iron Age logboat project has begun. Because of its fragility and confined position within the glass case at Poole Museum, the vessel could not be moved so an innovative approach had to be found.

The Consortium

1st Horizon Surveying & Engineering, Bournemouth University, Pat Tanner, an expert in the digital reconstruction and 3D modelling of vessels and MAST developed the methodology.

A photo of The logboat prepped and ready to be recorded
The logboat prepped and ready to be recorded

The Technology

Other known digital recording technologies such as a Faro Arm would have been unable to access the narrow parts underneath the vessel. However a Faro3D laser scanner was the ideal kit for the job to capture a full and complete point cloud of the vessel to a +/- 2mm single point accuracy and a +/- 3 to 4mmm across the entire project. The scanning was carried out by 1rst Horizon Surveying & Engineering.

A photo of Checking the Faro 3D laser scanner ahead of the recording
Checking the Faro 3D laser scanner ahead of the recording
A photo of Using the Faro3D laser scanner manually
Using the Faro3D laser scanner manually

The Logboat

The Poole logboat lies in a majestic position in the entrance at Poole Museum in Dorset. It is one of the largest prehistoric water craft to survive in the UK. Scientific dating by the radio carbon method has provided it with a date of BC 295 ± 50 (RC), dating it to the Iron Age.

A photo of The logboat being prepped
The logboat being prepped

Now, thanks to very generous donations from the Robert Braithwaite's Autumn Trust, the Gosling Foundation, The Headley Trust and the Valentine Charitable Trust we are able to complete the digital recording of the vessel and meet the publication costs of the monograph. The newly created digital data will contribute enormously to our fairly limited knowledge of prehistoric craft. New technology, only recently available now means that we have been able to carry out the work without disturbing it in any manner, and at a relatively low cost.

The final goal is to collate and complete the research into the vessel and to make it available in a publicly accessible way. A monograph will include distinct chapters on the archaeological and historical background, the environmental context, the timber science and ship science aspects, the conservation conducted on it and a section on its interpretation and public display.

MAST is seeking further funding to cover the research and reporting aspects.

The Autumn Trust1st HorizonThe Headley Trust